How I kickstarted my career in DevOps – Grace Tree

Emma Frame 15th September 2020

Interested in technology but not sure how to elevate your interest into a profession?

If you’re looking to break into the realm of digital transformation, DevOps and automation, seeking out a dedicated training opportunity is a great way to build on existing skills whilst gaining new ones along the way.

In fact, ECS’s Training Academy has so far offered over 15 budding tech enthusiasts the opportunity to progress towards becoming a Delivery Consultant. Through a series of classroom and online workshops, we helped build their understanding of DevOps tools by practical application of building labs, environments and platforms.

Grace Tree was just one of those tech enthusiasts, and here is her story.


“It wasn’t until college that I started taking tech more seriously. It was during my second year of college that I decided to swap law for programming. I also dropped history to take up ICT during A-levels. This helped me land a multi-player programming course at University – I was just one of two students and sadly the course closed down the year after I attended.

Over the three-year course, I had a sandwich year placement which gave me the space I needed to set up my own business with friends designing computer games from scratch. This was such a great experience. Not only was it a success, we attended EGX the UK’s biggest gaming convention at the beginning of the year which inspired us to aim for exhibiting at it next time, and we managed to do just that a year later! We accomplished something we didn’t think we could, and I was able to throw myself at the company post-university.

Whilst we had clients and were making some money, we sadly didn’t have enough clients to make a real go at it and after a year in a stump, I found myself asking “what next?”

I applied for jobs, took a few interviews and found that the process had knocked my confidence. In need of something different, I decided to do something a bit out there.

That something ended up being a trip to Japan. I took up a role as an English teacher and had such a fantastic experience that I stayed for two years. I discovered how I learn best and developed a lot of soft skills to help better myself and take on a new challenge. I got everything I needed from that experience, and whilst it sounds counterintuitive to say, having a complete break from programming was refreshing.

It was only after my family started messaging when I was coming home that I decided to start applying for jobs in the UK again.

Because of the long break from programming, I was hesitant about applying for programming roles, so I looked at data science and even thought about the idea of going back to University to complete a masters. The problem was, I needed a job to pay for the masters. Whilst job searching, I took a LinkedIn course in Python for data scientists to rebuild my confidence in programming.

My partner was looking for programming jobs at the time and applied for one at ECS. When he was researching about ECS he stumbled across a post for the ECS Training Academy and flagged it to me.

Three months to boost my confidence in tech and programming and consultancy. This ticked all my boxes, combining what I wanted from a masters with a job – which is exactly what I wanted. Learning and earning!

The recruitment process itself was pretty hectic. I had numerous documents to fill out and there were a few problems with some of the checks due to having lived in Japan for 2 years. But, ECS were really understanding and this helped give me assurance that I was going to get the support I needed during the academy.

I think at the time I was looking for someone to give me a chance. I knew I could do it, but I needed to convince someone else I could do it too. Fortunately, one of the first technologies to come up on the Academy was Java (the first programming language I learned) which felt nostalgic and trigged a fuzzy feeling inside and confidence boost. It was a chance to relearn and also learn stuff that I had never done before.

It was difficult at first, navigating through all the DevOps lingo, but as I progressed through the academy, I just suddenly understood it. I didn’t know anything about on the job tech industry skills a month ago but here I was, understanding terminal commands and test automation.

From there, I was thrown into soft skills training. It was during these sessions that I felt most accomplished. Having spent so much time within a softly spoken Asian culture, being asked to project myself at somebody across the road was an incredibly surprising, scary and memorable experience. But it was an experience I got through.

If truth be told, the Academy exceeded itself on some many fronts. I remembered at the beginning being a little fidgety as I hadn’t done any programming in the Academy, but I knew the curriculum, so I knew it was coming. Everything else along the way was new to me, new for me to learn but was really good to learn and a lot of the time I was like “why didn’t my university teach me this – this is all really useful”.

The Academy started my career. It helped me break into the tech industry and give me the confidence to apply to and graduate from the Academy and progress to that of a Delivery Consultant, delivering for a real-life transformation project.

I’ve been part of the ECS team now for coming up to a year and have even run my own DevOps Playground – a hands-on session with Cypress and Cypress Dashboard – which has seen over 200 views since it was first recorded.

Reflecting back, I have sometimes struggled with not thinking that I was good enough and sometimes that can get to you. My advice to those treading a similar path is to find a job that helps you reignite that motivation and enables you to develop a little bit more. My ability to learn then is different to how I learn now. Understanding how I learn has been a game changer for me and learning coping mechanisms has been a game changer also.”


If, like Grace, you are ready to take that next step and join a 3-month, paid opportunity to grow your DevOps, software development & testing skills, why not sign up to a future ECS Training Academy?

Be the first in the know about future opportunities by following the ECS Academy LinkedIn page here.

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